From a conscious level, I think we can all concede to the fact that we don’t choose our family.
If we did, I certainly wouldn’t have selected a dad that enjoyed the fine pleasure of a Coors more than the warm embrace of my newborn body.
But, in a way, the family we have provides exactly what we need to grow as human beings… just like everything in life, I suppose.
Living in a lack mentality with money? Get ready to be smacked with an onslaught of surprise bills.
Struggling to find your self-worth? Surely, you’ll receive opportunities to go back to that bad relationship or hook up with the person that takes a week to text you back.
As a child, from my non-professional point of view, my biggest personal hurdles were anger and patience, and my siblings definitely pushed me to work on both.
“I’m telling mom!” I must’ve heard my brother say about six thousand times.
To which I would respond with a snide, defensive remark that intended to crush his spirit. It wasn’t until years later that we formed a truly loving, understanding relationship, where we could make fun of each other with ease and talk about the deep meaning of life.
I can confidently say my brother helped me move towards becoming a more accepting, compassionate person that doesn’t freak out when a server delivers a meal with cheese on it, even after I clearly specified, “I’m deathly allergic.”
As for my patience…
My step sister came into my life when I was five… maybe six (I’ve always been terrible with timelines) and I was no longer the only child, which excited me at first, but she had her own bag of things to deal with — top priority was not helping me choreograph dance routines to Britney Spears.
As the years progressed, I tutored my sister, which did not come easy; this isn’t to say she’s dumb — she’s not… this is to say my teaching style wasn’t adequate, thus forced me to change course and work on my patience.
Through consistent reinforcement and a lot of meditation, I’ve been able to quell the dread that used to come when I couldn’t get a cartwheel on the first try. And that patience really came in handy when my stomach was gurgling on day two of my detox.
As for my parents… well, I told you about my biological dad — he’s never been in the picture. Fortunately, though, he was replaced by someone with a big heart and an ability to educate me on independence and financial well-being.
My mom is all the cliche things — the most loving, most supportive, most beautiful, most thoughtful. She taught me how to accept myself, reassuring me that I will always make mistakes (how dare she), so I better embrace it.
And then there comes the family you do choose.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost eight years now — in some states, we’d be legally married, but fortunately, neither of us have an interest in tying the knot. But maybe a fun ‘just because’ celebration in our future… when we can be around people again… in 2045?
Either way, he’s taught me what it means to be a whole person.
“You don’t even care about me,” I used to say when he’d play video games with his friends.
“Babe, I care about you deeply, and I want this relationship to work, which means we need to have boundaries,” he responded. “We can’t spend every night together.”
Woah — healthy behaviors… foreign territory… does this mean he doesn’t love me? Should I give him the cold shoulder and make him ask me what’s wrong until he gets annoyed with my ‘everything’s fine’ response? Text other guys to show him someone else would want to be around me all days of the week?
Truthfully, these were things that rolled through my brain, for longer than I’d care to admit, but as with anything else, we [humans] get used to things.
We had date nights, and started building each other up more with our time… and now, when I think about spending every night together, I shutter. No chance. I need my reading and writing time, and he needs to kill zombies or whatever the hell.
And we may have children in the future if we should be so lucky, but I’m not pushing it, because you can’t, can you? We’re all living in a matrix operating as the designers see fit.
Just kidding… but I do want to see Free Guy, badly. Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer — sign me up.
I would be remiss not to mention our new fluffy joy, insert name. [He] wants to name her… wait for it… you ready?… Bly. He wants to name her Bly.
“You’d never let us name our kid that, so now’s my chance,” he pleaded yesterday.
Guys, that’s not even a name… do I let him have this one?
We think she’s an Australian shepherd mix but can’t be positive. She weighs about five pounds and has pooped in the house three times over the last 24 hours, including (all over?) her crate. She also barked all night and I’m running on fumes, but I couldn’t be more in love, watching her prance around, get excited for a treat, and curl up on my toes as I work.
In closing, I would like to reference a band some of you may have heard of… ahem, The Rolling Stones and remind us all that
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, you just might find
You get what you need